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Big Ten Expansion: Rutgers officially accepts invitation to join league

Rutgers University officially accepted an invitation to join the Big Ten Conference Tuesday.


Rutgers University officially accepted its invite to join the Big Ten Conference Tuesday with a press conference featuring the school's president Robert Barchi, athletic director Tim Pernetti and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany. The presser was held immediately after the Big Ten and its Council of Presidents/Chancellors unanimously approved the Scarlet Knights as their 14th member.

"This is a transformative day for Rutgers University," said Pernetti at the press conference. "Transformative in so many ways. The Big Ten Conference is the ultimate academic neighborhood to live in. We're now in the neighborhood with like-minded institutions, pure schools. This is not just about a collaboration on the fields of play, this is about a collaboration about every level.

"This is a perfect place for Rutgers."

Rutgers' move to the Big Ten means it will soon end its 21-year relationship with the Big East Conference, a league which invited the Scarlet Knights to join in 1991 as a football-playing member and added it as an all-sports member in 1995.

The university's decision came a day after The University of Maryland announced it was leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference for the Big Ten beginning in July of 2014.

"Today I am all Rutgers, yesterday I was all Maryland," Delany joked at the press conference.

[Big East statement | Big 10 announcement]

According to Delany, talks between Rutgers and the Big Ten have been ongoing for three to four years, and the league's addition of the Penn St. Nittany Lions in '93 helped begin the process of moving to the Mid-Atlantic.

"Our people are really excited about it," Delany said. "We're not asking that New Jersey move to the Midwest. We're going to move to the East, so you can be yourself and we can be ourselves and together join a partnership to enhance each other."

It's still unclear when Rutgers will depart from the Big East, as the two sides still need to agree on a possible early-exiting agreement. Currently, Rutgers would need to pay an exit fee of $10 million and wait 27 months.

Rutgers becomes the fourth Big East school to leave for another conference in the last year and a half.